It’s console fashion week (aka E3) and what a great time to look back at our beloved plastic boxes of the past, present and future and reminisce about some of fashions biggest triumphs and fails in console design.
5. Nintendo Entertainment System
Bulky squared off design, with a grey colour scheme that just screams 80’s monstrosity, this saviour of the home videogames market really wasn’t much to look at. Though I give props for the scarlet red naming and buttons on the controller, this is a big fashion miss. The two toned grey’s just don’t look good, and give it dowdy aged look, rather than something retro and antique.
4. PlayStation 5
Promotional images of the newest PlayStation are much kinder to this console than it is in person. This enormous monstrosities entire design doesn’t work for me. The tacky shiny black middle, the weirdly shaped wings, a disc drive that looks like they slapped it on at the last minute and the white black colour scheme making the console appear even larger than it already is. Thank god it’s internals make up for its externals, because this is one ugly console.
3. Xbox One
This eyesore was described as looking like a VCR which is fairly apt, the console is bulky, cheap and boring. Its only saving grace being the glowing “X” logo on the front. But even the materials don’t work. The tacky shiny black plastic covering half the box and the other half adorned inelegantly with vents, it looked old before it was even new. There’s nothing sleek or about this design, it’s just a heavy black box.
The OG Xbox has a lot in common with the Xbox One, this was a large bulky and ugly looking design, even that now legendary green statement badge in the middle of the box couldn’t make this thing any prettier. Black is supposed to be slimming, this this console looks like it’s in desperate need of a diet. It’s very American in its design, it’s in your face like a Karen complaining in a restaurant, I don’t like it.
Though very of it’s time, words cannot describe how much I hate the design of this console. It’s like they took every single 80’s “futuristic” look and threw it into the console. The strange knobs, the old school mobile phone controllers that slot in the top, the pointless grating, the cheap sticker on the front, the lack of symmetry. Nothing about this design works and for that I give it the top spot on this worst console design list.
This is what I like to see in my retro fashion statements. I love the design of the Intellivision (the gold and brown is the best of it’s many designs), unlike the Colecovision, this design went for symmetry and understatement. The gold and brown compliment each other perfectly, with faux wooden panelling on the side, this console is brave and bold with it’s design and it just works. You can catch it’s sleek frame at any angle, it just loves the camera.
4. Nintendo Gamecube
Not every Nintendo Gamecube was born the same. The black version is a bit of shrug, but the Gamecube came in such a variety of colours that it’s hard to pick a favourite, but the gold Gamecube is just stunning! What I love about the console is it threw out any regular conventions of design and went for a new shape that looks good from every angle. Comparing it to the bulky designs of the original Xbox and the uninspired look of the PS2, the Gamecube was odd, adventurous and above all sexy.
3. Xbox Series S
If the current generation was going to be won on the looks of the console and nothing more, the Series S would win hands down, especially up against it’s bigger brother the Series X and the aforementioned monstrosity that is the PS5. The Series S is compact, in a stunning robot white that makes it both unassuming and sleek. The big black vent in the top, makes a statement without pulling focus – it’s beautiful and makes up for a lot of poor designs from Microsoft’s past.
2. Atari VCS
There’s something about the Atari VCS design that I just love. There’s a more premium feel to it than the very toy-like quality of the Nintendo consoles of the time. Whether it’s the symmetry of the buttons and either side of the cartridge slot, the black grating leading to the faux wood finish at the end or the curvy under belly , but it just works for me and would look sexy living under a TV even today.
This little console is an absolute snack. It’s curvy edges, the off white/grey colour, the symmetrical design and even the writing and logos work beautifully with this device. The pastel colours of the power and eject buttons work in tandem for a design that’s fresh even today. It’s just gorgeous, plus we need to talk about how dinky this thing is, almost like cute puppy you can hold in one hand. This is Sony’s most accomplished design in a home console. And the winner of my E3 fashion week.